Millions of African farmers to benefit from new Climate Smart Agriculture alliance

The NEPAD Agency has launched an alliance of diverse partners to reach six million farming families through Climate-Smart Agriculture processes over the next seven years.

Known as the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, the group will contribute to helping 25 million farmers become more resilient and food secure by 2025.

The Alliance unites the public sector with research and civil society organizations to scale up on-farm assistance, link to technological advances and support a favorable policy environment. This cross-sector collaboration is designed to achieve transformational impact; farmers, communities and systems for lasting change.

NEPAD CEO Dr Mayaki said that implementation and ensuring tangible results at grassroot level is a key factor that sets this Alliance apart. “It is in this regard also important that the Alliance has set itself clear targets. Within the context of the CAADP Results Framework, we should be able to monitor and follow progress in attaining the six million farm household target.” he said

Members of the Alliance include five INGOs which will lead scaling up activities: CARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Concern Worldwide, Oxfam and World Vision. Four technical partners will ensure the best, most up-to-date technical information and evaluation capacity. They are the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the African policy and advocacy NGO known as the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), the research consortium CGIAR, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

“If we do not do something urgently to forestall the impact of climate change, it will lead to a downward trend in Africa’s development. Africa needs to come up with strategies to reduce the negative effects of climate change. These include green economy approaches, government policies and other mechanisms to protect our ecosystems,” said president Kufour.

World Vision Australia CEO, Mr Tim Costello cautioned that the world’s poor had a trust factor in leaders, that had to be fulfilled.. “If growth does not touch the poorest, then the trust deficit in leaders will only grow. So many of the worlds’ poorest are being left dramatically behind. This initiative is one of the powerful tools to address the challenges of the small-scale farmers” he said.

Representing Catholic Relief Services, the CEO, Dr Carolyn Woo said “As Africa starts to prosper, we have an opportunity to reach out, we need to provide prosperity for those small scale farmers and an effective way to do that is through climate smart agriculture”

The CEO of FARNAPAN, Lindiwe Sibanda, speaking on behalf of Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CICAFS), a programme tasked with dealing with climate change issues, reiterated that this alliance will need to address issues on food security, nutrition security, mitigation of agriculture and adaption to climate change strategies.

Source: NEPAD

Farmers’ battle to cope with climate change could spark rural renewal

Shifting world agriculture to a “climate-smart” approach will not only help prevent future food security crises but holds the promise of sparking economic and agricultural renewal in rural areas where hunger and poverty are most prevalent, argues a new FAO publication.

On the one hand, the magnitude and scope of climate change’s impacts on agricultural systems means that boosting rural communities’ resilience and adaptive capacities is essential to safeguarding world food security.

Rising temperatures and an increased frequency of extreme weather events will have direct and negative impacts on crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture productivity in the years to come, as clearly indicated in the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Vulnerable, farming-dependent populations in the developing world are particularly at risk.

But at the same time, the compelling need to deal with the challenges posed by climate change offers an opportunity to transform the way food systems use natural resources, improve agriculture’s sustainability and promote poverty reduction and economic growth, the publication adds.

Highlighting cases studies in “climate-smart agriculture” from around the globe, FAO’s document shows that many rural communities are already successfully making the transition to new forms of farming better suited to the rigors of a warmer world.

“A shift to climate-smart agriculture will not only help shield farmers from the adverse effects of climate change and offer a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but can also improve farm yields and household incomes, leading to stronger, more resilient communities,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Helena Semedo.

“We can no longer afford to separate the future of food security from that of natural resources, the environment and climate change – they are inextricably intertwined and our response must be as well,” she added.

Climate-smart agriculture

The model of climate-smart agriculture that FAO is promoting seeks to address three broad objectives:
• Sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes
• Help rural communities and farmers adapt to and become more resilient to the effects of climate change
• To reduce or remove agriculture’s greenhouse gases emissions, when possible.
Exactly how farmers go about tackling these goals can change from place to place, depending on local circumstances.

Source: FAO

Climate change adaptation can help to promote Sub-Saharan African Livelihoods.

Investing in ways to adapt to climate change will promote the livelihood of 65 per cent of Africans, the United Nations environmental agency reported, warning also that failing to address the phenomenon could reverse decades of development progress on the continent.

Africa’s population is set to double to 2 billion by 2050, the majority of whom will continue to depend on agriculture to make a living, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“With 94 per cent of agriculture dependent on rainfall, the future impacts of climate change – including increased droughts, flooding, and seal-level rise – may reduce crop yields in some parts of Africa by 15 – 20 per cent,” UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

“Such a scenario, if unaddressed, could have grave implications for Africa’s most vulnerable states,” he added.

In a new graphical report, Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) – Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference, UNEP details the implications of climate change, and provides examples of adaptation projects that range from forest ecosystem management to aquatics and agriculture.

The report describes sustainable examples of how countries in sub-Saharan Africa enhanced environmental and ecosystem resilience through the use of native plants and natural infrastructure, land plans and rainwater harvesting, among other examples.

The projects are integrated into national development policies which can strengthen and enhance the resilience communities against the impacts of climate change, while also contributing to the realization of the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the report authors.

“By integrating climate change adaptation strategies in national development policies Governments can provide transitional pathways to green growth and protect and improve the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of Africans,” Mr. Steiner noted.
The projects also highlight the urgency to act now in adapting to challenges, especially in developing countries where capabilities to respond to the magnitude of the problem are limited.

This year’s Africa Environment Day, marked annually on 3 March, focused on combating desertification on the continent and enhancing its agriculture and food security. The continent has lost 65 per cent of its agricultural land since 1950 due to land degradation, according to figures cited by UNEP. Up to 12 per cent of its agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) is lost due to deteriorating conditions and 135 million people are at risk of having to move from their land by 2020 due to desertification.

Source; UN Report, August 2014.

How Africa can help feed the world’s 9 billion in 2050

How Africa can help feed the world’s 9 billion people in 2050

With the global population expected to increase to over 9 billion people in 2050, experts have been predicting dire food situations. In Africa, in particular, the population is projected to go from being home to 15 percent of the world population today to 25 percent in 2050.

However, it is also Africa that offers major solutions in feeding the world. While there’s no silver bullet to providing food for all, here are some examples of what can be (and is being) done to improve food production and distribution in Africa:

1. While other regions have reached the limits to agricultural yield per hectare of land, Africa can substantially increase yields with currently available technology.

In certain parts of Africa, farmer yields remain as low as 1-1.5 tons per hectare, compared to potential yields of 3.5 tons per hectare in other regions of the world. That current underperformance translates into future opportunity.

Some companies are recognizing African farmers’ potential, including IGD member Seed Co., Africa’s largest proprietary seed breeding, production, processing and distribution group. Seed Co. is a founder of the Last Mile Alliance, an innovative model that brings together commercial partners (providers of high-quality farm inputs, financial services and insurance), existing agro-dealers, foundations and donors to create a cost-effective rural distribution network to reach smallholder farmers in Tanzania, delivering both commercial success and development impact at scale.

2. A lot of the added food needed to feed an expanding population already exists — we just need to reduce food spoilage and waste, and Africa is no exception.

More than 30 percent of all food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted, and saving just a quarter of that food would allow us to feed an added 870 million hungry people. Where in the value chain is food wasted? In medium- and high-income countries, quality standards that over-emphasize food’s appearance and consumer decisions to buy more food contribute heavily to massive food waste. In contrast, food loss in Africa occurs almost entirely in the production and distribution stages, leading experts to call for investment in infrastructure, transportation, packaging facilities and processing in the developing world to fight food loss.

Through the IGD-Rockefeller Post-Harvest Loss Project, IGD has engaged more than 45 companies in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria to identify scalable, market-led solutions to reduce waste and spoilage in several value chains. For example, the Dutch Agriculture Development & Trading Co., a private company established in 2002 to drive poverty alleviation via business methods, is currently tackling the issue of food spoilage. Through its autonomous mobile processing units, DADTCO brings processing directly to cassava farmers in Ghana, Mozambique and Nigeria, circumventing spoilage issues that arise during transportation of cassava to traditional processing plants.

3. Compared to other global regions, Africa’s potential for sheer expansion of cultivated land is huge.

Some 60 percent of Earth’s uncultivated land is located in Africa. That translates into 600 million hectares. While not all potential farmland should be converted given environmental and commercial considerations, the opportunity for sustainable expansion does exist. As the efficiency of land use increases through yields, less land will be needed for farms in the future.

While analysts are concerned about global population growth, signs of progress in food security persist. In Africa, with continued efforts in increasing yields, reducing waste and efficiently using land, the continent’s agricultural potential will be part of the solution to feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

Source: Jessica Ernst, July 2014.

Agroforestry a win-win for reforestation and agriculture

Agroforestry increases carbon storage and can enhance agricultural productivity, so it could be a win-win solution to the difficult choice between reforestation and agricultural land use in Africa, says scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre.

In most parts of Africa, climate change mitigation to date has focused on reforestation and forest protection. But this is in conflict with the need to expand agricultural production in Africa to feed the continent’s growing population.
Agroforestry however, can achieve mitigation and increase production but also help farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“For example, a farm with trees will suffer less to the impacts of climate change because it will absorb some of these impacts, so agroforestry is a good response to develop resilience of agrosystems to the challenges brought about by climate change,” says Cheikh Mbow, Senior Scientist, Climate Change and Development at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and lead author of the article.

Mbow and co-authors suggest that agroforestry should attract more attention in global agendas on climate change mitigation because of its positive social and environmental impacts. Increasing the adoption of agroforestry requires support for smallholder farmers through building robust extension services.

Source: ICRAF

How Africa can feed in the face of climate change the solution lies itself

Climate smart agriculture is one of the way Africa can cope with climate change problems. Engaging in this technology helping farmers to cultivate in small area and get enough crops for their families and for selling so as poverty can be reduced.

Follow the link below
climate change and food insecurity

Climate-Smart Agriculture(CSA) is a triple win.

 The World Bank believes climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is a “triple win” for agriculture, the climate and food security

  • Climate-smart farming techniques would increase farm productivity and incomes, and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, while also contributing to mitigation. CSA includes proven practical techniques, such as mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agro-forestry, improved grazing, and improved water management.  CSA also includes innovative practices such as better weather forecasting, drought- and flood-tolerant crops and risk insurance.
  • Leading scientists from 38 countries agree.  At a November conference in the Netherlands, experts were united in calling on the negotiators in Durban to recognize and support the potential that climate-smart agriculture offers.

 We are putting CSA into practice

  • Innovative approaches supported by the World Bank (pdf) are already in place in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda, as well as in Yemen, China, Brazil and Mexico.  Below are some examples:
  • African farmers who have adopted evergreen agriculture are reaping impressive results without the use of costly fertilizers. Crop yields often increase by 30 percent and sometimes more. In Zambia, for example, maize yields tripled when grown under Faidherbia trees.
  • In China, a major reforestation program to protect watersheds and control erosion has returned the devastated Loess Plateau to sustainable agricultural production, improving the lives of 2.5 million people and securing food supplies in an area where food was sometimes scarce.  An estimated 20 million more people in China have benefited from the replication of this approach in other areas.
  • In Rwanda, a hillside erosion project is having dramatic results.  Through terracing, improved soil cultivation, better water run-off management, and irrigation systems, farmers reported an immediate increase in yields and income.

Source:

Word Bank.